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Sacked Iranian Minister Named As Top Prosecutor

Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei, sacked as intelligence minister, is now Iran's prosecutor-general.
TEHRAN (Reuters) -- Iran's judiciary has named a cleric who was sacked as intelligence minister by President Mahmud Ahmadinejad as the Islamic republic's top prosecutor, news agencies reported.

Ahmadinejad fired Intelligence Minister Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei last month, a move Iranian media linked to disagreement over the conservative president's choice of a new first vice president.

Ahmadinejad was reelected for a second four-year term in a disputed June presidential election, which plunged Iran into its deepest internal crisis since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and exposed deep divisions within its ruling elite.

Some of Ahmadinejad's conservative backers have abandoned him since the vote, even though he enjoys the backing of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's highest authority.

Pro-reform opposition leaders say the presidential vote was rigged and see Ahmadinejad's next government as illegitimate. The authorities reject such charges.

The official IRNA news agency said Mohseni-Ejei was picked as new prosecutor-general in a meeting between new judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani and supreme court judges. He replaces Qorban-Ali Dori-Najafabadi.

State television said Larijani had confirmed Mohseni-Ejei's appointment.

Ahmadinejad last month outraged hard-liners who had endorsed his reelection by appointing Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie's as first vice-president. Mashaie has said Iran was friends with everyone, even the people of arch-foe Israel.

Iran does not recognize Israel and Ahmadinejad has often predicted its imminent demise. Ahmadinejad has said Mashaie's remarks were "misrepresented."

Ahmadinejad later dismissed Mashaie, to whom he is related by marriage, after Khamenei ordered him to do so. But he was appointed as the president's chief of staff instead.

Analysts have said the initial decision by Ahmadinejad to appoint Mashaie as first vice president suggested the president has only a small entourage of people he trusts.

Ahmadinejad is expected to face a tough battle to win parliamentary approval for his proposed new 21-strong cabinet after some lawmakers said they were likely to reject several ministers nominated by the president last week.

Parliamentary voting on the cabinet lineup is expected to get under way on August 30.